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NUJP calls out Andanar for knocking reportage on martial law

Presidential Communication Secretary Martin Andanar. Photographed by Krizjohn Rosales, Philstar
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Monday issued a statement calling out Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar for his "utterly dishonest tack" of blaming the media for reporting President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement that he may declare martial law even outside the clear justifications and limits set by the Constitution.

"Dear Secretary Andanar," the statement opened, "we, your former colleagues, commiserate with you as you carry out your job as Communications Secretary."

The statement, distributed by Ryan Rosauro, the NUJP Chairman, elaborated: "As a former news reader who no doubt valued truth in reportage and clarity in communication, we are sure it pains you to have to spin your principal's words every time he utters something inappropriate.

"However, we are saddened that you have chosen to eschew the hard work of – as your fellow communicator Sec. Ernesto Abella put it – creative imagination for the easier but utterly dishonest tack of blaming the media for accurately reporting your principal's remarks that he may declare martial law even outside the clear justifications and limits set by the Constitution.

"We do understand the difficulty of trying to decipher your principal's words preserved on video, including footage from your own RTVM. But we admit being in awe of such loyalty and dedication as yours, which would not hesitate to denounce even your very own outfit – RTVM – for engaging in what you call 'the height of journalistic irresponsibility' by accurately recording his message, to wit: 'I tell you now if I have to declare martial law I will declare it ... not about invasion, insurrection, not about danger...' and 'I will declare martial law to preserve my nation, period. Wala akong pakialam diyan sa Supreme Court ... the right to preserve one's life and my nation, my country transcends everything else, even the limitation.

"We are sorry that you are pained by headlines that supposedly 'sow panic and confusion to many.' Unfortunately, contrary to your interpretation that the mention of martial law was 'only under the premises that the country has deteriorated into an utter state of rebellion and lawlessness,' these precise justifications laid down by the Constitution were exactly what your principal cast aside when he said a possible declaration would not be 'about invasion, insurrection, not about danger.'

"No, Sir, if anything, it is his words that 'sow panic' and your sorry attempts at creative imagination that add to the 'confusion.'

"You cannot falsely accuse the profession of misreporting by peddling brazenly outrageous lies. That is so beneath you.

"We do wish you well and hold on to the hope that you will find your way back to the truth that doubtless was the cornerstone of your previous job."